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Lizzie Hayes "Lizzie" (Leicestershire)

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Dead Image: A Detective Sergeant Best Mystery (Detective Sergeant Best Mysteries)
Dead Image: A Detective Sergeant Best Mystery (Detective Sergeant Best Mysteries)
by Joan Lock
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.05

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing, and most satisfying mystery., 19 Mar 2012
Set in 1874, the explosion aboard the canal boat Tilbury on an October evening in the fashionable St John's Wood area, is the backdrop to this intriguing mystery. For following the recovery of the bodies of boatmen William Taylor and the lad, and eventually the mangled body of skipper Charles Baxton, the rescuers find a fourth body, that of a slight woman with fair hair not facially recognizable. For Sergeant Ernest Best identification is further complicated when he discovers that only the Captain's are known to the manager of the Grand Junction Canal traffic. As is explained to him, all the Captains take on their own crew. So could the Captain have had his wife on board, he asks?

As the investigation progresses and several likely possibilities are eliminated, Best is faced with a widening number of avenues to investigate, the barmaid, Liza Moody missing from The Three Tuns Public House since September 30th. But as the clothing seems of good quality, possibly a lady from one of the house's in St John's Wood that border the canal, or a Lady's maid who has received the good linen from her mistress. Or, maybe another victim of the Thames murderer?

Joan Lock paints an interesting portrait of life in 1874, and the problems for a young Sergeant faced with interviewing the rich and privileged in order to uncover a murderer, and obtain justice for those less fortunate.

In the course of his investigations Ernest Best meets Helen Franks, whose sister Matilda is missing. When Best discovers that Helen has taken art lessons from Lawrence Alma-Tadema, whose house was damaged in the explosion, the case becomes even more complicated, as does his relationship with Helen Franks.

A fascinating insight into life in 1874 coupled with marvelous characterization, and an intriguing, and most satisfying mystery.

This is the first book in which we meet Detective Sergeant Ernest Best. There are a further six books in this highly acclaimed series - all excellent mysteries.
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Shadowbreaker
Shadowbreaker
by Joy Ellis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.55

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and complex mystery from a clearly gifted writer., 12 Jan 2012
This review is from: Shadowbreaker (Hardcover)
DI Nikki Galena has returned to her home in the Fens. Feeling good she sets off for work to welcome back Sergeant DS Joseph Easter who is today joining her CID team on his first day back after being injured on duty *. As she walks to her car she is enthusiastically greeted by her closest neighbour Martin Durham whom she has known for nine years. He tells her he has some interesting news but it can keep until the weekend.

Later, called to the incident of a jumper Nikki is horrified to see the body of her neighbour Martin, who just a few hours previously had greeted her with pleasure. Now he is dead by his own hand. He had thrown himself from the top of the church tower. What could have happened to drive this happy man she saw earlier to suicide in a matter of a few hours. With friends and family Martin appeared to have no reason to take his own life.

Sergeant DS Joseph Easter is pleased to be back at work, but not so excited at being given the task of reviewing suicides in the area. But a chance sighting of Billy Sweet, a man from Joseph's past turns Joseph's life upside down - what is Billy Sweet doing here? Joseph has reason to fear Billy Sweet and eventually unable to deal with the nightmare, realises that he has to face his past before he loses his mind and maybe his life. Should he tell Nikki of his past experiences so that she can understand his deep fear of Billy Sweet?

A discovery of a second body, one who bears a resemblance to Billy Sweet, totally unnerves Joseph. But Nikki is trying to make sense of another bizarre suicide. Are there two killers out there?

I was totally hooked as I struggled to comprehend the mystery of the suicides, and how Joseph would resolve his personal nightmare. A fascinating and complex mystery from a clearly gifted writer.
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Lizzie Hayes
* see Mask Wars


Wicked Words (Honey Driver Mysteries)
Wicked Words (Honey Driver Mysteries)
by J. G. Goodhind
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.32

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good mystery with some great laughs, 4 Jan 2012
Honey Driver runs a hotel in Bath, and has acquired the role of hotel Crime Liaison Officer which has brought her fortuitously into contact with DI Steve Doherty. Like many people she has crosses to bear the main one being Gloria Cross, her mother who always looks as if she has stepped out of Vogue, and has a knack of always getting her own way, a continual trial to her daughter. On the upside Honey's daughter Lindsey is well adjusted and a computer expert to boot, who can ably run the hotel in Honey's absence.

C A Wright is a reviewer of hotels for a national newspaper and his goal in life is to trash every small hotel in which he stays. Or to reap financial or sexual rewards for not doing so. A win win situation if you are a sleaze of the highest order, and old CW can certainly take that accolade. Found dead stuffed into a giant teddy bear is probably not his finest hour but no more than he deserved. But for DI Steve Doherty, CW is a victim for whom he needs to bring a perpetrator to justice - unfortunately he is soon awash with suspects.

I love this series, so rich in characters. I want to meet with them all - OK particularly DI Steve Doherty!

As Honey gets drawn into the search for CW's killer, she gains reluctantly, custody of an incontinent dog belonging to a friend of her mother's. When the dog is kidnapped Honey is both relieved and anxious - the latter only related to her mother's wrath at the loss of her friends dog.

A good mystery with some great laughs this should be on your `not to be missed' pile. Highly recommended.
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Lizzie Hayes


Dying for Justice: A Detective Jackson Mystery: 4
Dying for Justice: A Detective Jackson Mystery: 4
by L.J. Sellers
Edition: Paperback

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine piece of plotting that had me hooked, 4 Jan 2012
Gina Stahl, opens her eyes but knows not where she is, all that comes instantly into her mind is `someone tried to kill me'.

When she comes to full consciousness she discovers that she is in a long-term care facility and has been in a coma for two years, following her suicide attempt. Although her brain is fuzzy Gina tells the police that she had not tried to commit suicide but that that she had been attacked by a man wearing a ski mask, and that she believes the man to be her ex-husband. But, her ex-husband is a police officer, so who will believe her.

The case is assigned to Detective Wade Jackson, who works with the violent crimes unit of the Eugene, Oregon Police Department. DI Wade has an excellent record of closing cases, but DI Wade is distracted by a letter received from Hector Vargas, the man accused, convicted and jailed for the murder of his parents, eleven years ago. Hector Vargas tells Jackson that he is innocent, and now that he is terminally ill with cancer he wants to set the record straight. Despite Jackson's skepticism he knows that he has to follow it up.

Jackson works both cases, but only manages it with the help of his 32-year-old trainee detective- Lara Evans. Soon Jackson finds himself in the unenviable position of suspecting other police officers. His re-opening and examining the circumstances surrounding his parents death brings him into contact with his brother with whom he has not seen for a number of years.

The story of both cases grips the reader, with the narrative alternating between Jackson and Lara Evans. I could not put this book down - a fine piece of plotting that had me hooked, and turning the pages eager to know if and how justice would be done for these two cold cases.

Highly recommended.
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Lizzie Hayes


Down the Darkest Road
Down the Darkest Road
by Tami Hoag
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.40

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that will remain with you long after you have turned the last page., 4 Jan 2012
This review is from: Down the Darkest Road (Hardcover)
Lauren Lawton happily married living in Santa Barbara with two children has the perfect life until the disappearance of her sixteen year-old daughter Lesley. In the space of one afternoon Lauren's life turns from joy to nightmare. And four years on the nightmare continues - her daughter never found and her husband dead, Lauren lives in anger and fear with her younger daughter Leah now fifteen, just the age that Lesley was when she disappeared.

Although Lesley has never been found, Lauren knows who took her daughter but without a single piece of evidence the police are powerless to do anything and despite their pity for Laurens plight her constant haranguing of the police department have worn thin their patience. Now Lauren has moved to Oak Knoil but has the man who took her daughter also moved to Oak Knoil - is he stalking her?

Aptly titled it is indeed a dark road that Lauren is travelling, accompanied by her daughter Leah who should as a teenager be enjoying life but who lives daily in the shadow of her missing elder sister and her mother's total preoccupation with bringing to justice the abductor of her daughter. Whilst the loss of a child, particularly in these circumstances is unbelievably horrific, this story illustrates how a tragic event can consume one to the detriment of everything and everyone.

Written in first person journal form by Lauren as she seeks to gain catharsis by recording the events as she remembers them, and by multiple third person points of view, we gain a picture of the lives of the people touched by this terrible event. The overriding emotion is one of powerlessness as Lauren tries to protect her remaining child, but at every turn she seems to be the one in the wrong as she reacts in panic when matters begin to move beyond her control. Not a comfortable book, but one that will remain with you long after you have turned the last page, as one cannot help but wonder `what would I do in these circumstances'?

Highly recommended.
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Lizzie Hayes


Sleep Like The Dead: 8 (DSI Lorimer)
Sleep Like The Dead: 8 (DSI Lorimer)
by Alex Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing mystery, rich in characters, 4 Jan 2012
The shooting of thirty-seven year-old Kenneth Scott divorced, no children living in a quiet suburb of Glasgow, seems motiveless - even the victim has a surprised look on his face. And disbelief from those who knew him, `such an ordinary bloke' seems to be the census of opinion - it must have been a mistake!

Investigating is Detective Chief Inspector William Lorimer's team and his new Detective Constable Omar Adel Fathy. And so they begin the interviews of those closest to Kenneth Scott with the exception of his ex-wife who they cannot locate.

Across the city, a hit-man is keen to collect his fee and be on his way. But matters don't go smoothly and this makes him angry and bent on revenge.

Meanwhile in Spain wee toerag Billy is living royally on 10K that isn't his, but wee Billy is not that savey away from his native Glasgow.

Further professional killings has DCI Lorimer struggling to find any evidence, and following budget cut-backs he cannot call on criminal psychologist Solomon Brightman, to give him a profile of the killer. Although saddened that he is no longer able to be involved, Solomon and his wife Dr Rosie Ferguson, the forensic pathologist is pregnant with their first child, so they have much to occupy them, but Solomon is closer to the case than he knows.

An intriguing mystery, rich in characters that initially seem unrelated until the author skilfully draws the threads together and the story unfolds to reveal the full picture. The strands of the story are satisfyingly tied-up, with a twist at the end that for this reader ejects into the story a note of sadness. Very highly recommended.
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Lizzie Hayes


Bespoke Murder, A (Home Front Detective Series)
Bespoke Murder, A (Home Front Detective Series)
by Edward Marston
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.36

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly plotted, well written and invoking the atmosphere of the time, 28 Sep 2011
May 1915 and the Lusitania sailing from New York is in sight of land when she is torpedoed by the Germans. The story is told by stewardess Irene Bayard who had worked on the Lusitania since her maiden voyage in September 2007.

The sinking of the Lusitania provokes ferocious revengeful action in her home port of Liverpool. The shops of anyone with a German name are looted, and even naturalised British citizens are not safe but beaten up at random. Sadly this action is soon seen in other major cities. But in London matters take a sinister turn when a tailor's shop on Jermyn Street in London is burnt out and the owner killed. Whilst fleeing from the shop at her father's insistence Ruth Stein is waylaid by two soldiers and raped.

Assigned to the murder case are Inspector Harvey Mamion and Sergeant Keedy. The former, a family man, the latter a ladies man, but maybe he just needs to meet the right girl.

Whilst the action taken by Mamion and Keedy as they investigate both the murder and the rape, have all the hallmarks of a good detective story, with the satisfying knowledge that the strong arm of the law has a long stretch, much of the strength of the book is in the characters and their lives on the home front during war. Following her recent experience, Irene decides that she will return home to her sister Dorothy in London, and find work there. Ruth Stein a quiet rather sheltered middle-class girl attempts to deal with the dreadful thing that has happened to her and, along with her family, the death of Jacob Stein.

Cleverly plotted, well written and invoking the atmosphere of the time, I heartily recommend this book as an excellent read. I am delighted to see that this is the first in a new series and I look forward to the next one.
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Lizzie Hayes


Rip Tide: A Liz Carlyle novel
Rip Tide: A Liz Carlyle novel
by Stella Rimington
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting entry in this excellent series, 11 Sep 2011
Mitchell Berger who has lived in most places in the world, is now living in Athens and co-ordinating aid for the charity UCSO. A call that an aid ship bound for Mombasa had been subject to a hijacking attempt, which had been foiled by a French Navy patrol is on the face of it good news. However this is the third hijacking of an aid ship and Mitchell surmises that it is no chance attack, as like the earlier two hijacking this particular aid ship was carrying unusually expensive cargo. With a sigh Mitchell telephones the London Headquarters of UCSO and alerts his boss David Blakey to the problem. An ex-MI6 officer David decides to have a chat with an old colleague.

Meanwhile, the problem reaches MI5 Officer Liz Carlyle by a different route as the French Navy who captured the pirates have found that one of the gang has a British passport. Would Liz like to question the prisoner? During the decade that Liz Carlyle has been in MI5 things have changed dramatically following 9/11. So a British citizen of Pakistani descent in a gang of Somalis pirates raises a red flag.

As Liz investigates the background of the prisoner Amir Khan, and tries to make sense of the chain that has resulted in Amir being part of a pirate gang, a separate prong of attack is being put in place in Greece.

Whilst the investigation steps up, and Liz and her team try to get a handle on the facts and information that they are uncovering, equally fascinating are the behind the scenes politics and relationships inside MI5 and MI6

On a personal level Liz is currently enjoying a relationship with a French counterpart, but can relationships ever stand still?

An exciting entry in this excellent series, this book is recommended.
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Lizzie Hayes


A Medal For Murder: Number 2 in series (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)
A Medal For Murder: Number 2 in series (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)
by Frances Brody
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating tale of deception, and murder, 29 Aug 2011
At the end of the Great War seeking information as to what happened to her husband Gerald, posted missing, Kate Shackleton undertook to locate missing persons as a kindness to other women in situations such as herself. Although still unclear as to what happened to Gerald, Kate has now in 1922 set up as a Private Investigator and following a robbery at a pawn-shop Kate is retained by the distraught owner to advise his customers of the loss of their items and if possible to track down the culprit.

Visiting Harrogate to carry out her contractual obligation for the pawn shop owner, and taking the opportunity to see a play, Kate virtually trips over a dead body outside the theatre. Seeking another pawn shop customer Kate is approached by Captain Wolfendale who fears his granddaughter Lucy who was in the play has been kidnapped. Soon Kate is drawn into the lives of the actors.

The story is told with a series of flash backs to the turn of the century when Lucy's grandfather was a Captain during the Boer war. The descriptions of the scenes are quite harrowing, and invoke a terrible period in British history.

In 'A Medal for Murder', Frances Brody had produced a fascinating tale of deception, and murder, as she skilfully negotiates the reader through a tangle of fraud and dishonesty.

The characterisation is superb. Interestingly, one of Kate's decisions brings her into direct conflict with her trusty sidekick the ex-policeman Sykes. Whilst I could see Kate's point, I felt that the reader knew more about the character in question than did Kate, and I wondered if Kate's decision would come back to haunt her.

An excellent story well paced that keeps the reader turning pages. One of those unable-to-put down books. Highly recommended.
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Lizzie Hayes


The Lost Daughter
The Lost Daughter
by Lucretia Grindle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.42

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling story with a stunning climax., 19 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Lost Daughter (Paperback)
Seventeen year-old Kristen Carson is an American student studying in Florence. When she is reported missing by her father, who has flown over from the USA to celebrate her birthday, the Italian police are not overly concerned. `She will turn up in a few days having been holed up in some hotel with a new boyfriend having an exciting time', says Alessandro Pallioti, one of Florence's most senior police officials. But Kenneth Carson is a doctor to the wealthy and famous, and knows people in high places, so reluctantly Pallioti puts his deputy Enzo Saenz onto the case.

After interviewing Kristen's flat mate alarm bells ring for Enzo, when it appears that Kristen has been dating Antonio Tomaselli, who apart from being some thirty-years older than Kristen is a member of the Red Brigades who were responsible for the kidnap and death of Aldo Moro in 1978, and the death of many others. Whilst they are still casting around trying to get a handle on situation, Anna Carson, Kristen's stepmother also goes missing.

The main narrators of the story are Enzo Saenz as he struggles to make sense of the two disappearances, and the background to the story which is told by a series of flashbacks from Anna Carson's past.

So enthralling and descriptive is the writing that I became so immersed in the story that there were occasions when I looked up from the book and was surprised to find I was in the UK, and not in Florence.

This is a thrilling and heartbreaking story of a doomed love affair, which survived for decades. The stunning climax brings with it repercussions for all parties. I urge you all not to miss this exciting and fascinating tale. I see that there are three earlier books by this author, which I now have to read.
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Lizzie Hayes


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